News from the official Tristan website
- Work starts to put over Tristan's case for November Ministerial Meeting
Report from Tristan Government's UK Representative Chris Bates
Tristan da Cunha has begun work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the other UK Overseas Territories at the suggestion of the Minister for Overseas Territories, Mark Simmonds MP, in preparation for the 2013 Joint Ministerial Council in London.
If that sounds dry and dusty, it's not: it's where Tristan (or those representing the island) talk in detail with the Minister and his colleagues and civil servants representing other UK Government Departments. It's an opportunity to work through with honesty and in great detail, the concerns, hopes and ambitions of the islanders and try to match them with the realities faced by those responsible for the whole range of what the Her Majesty's Government has to do.
Not an easy balancing act and at last year's Conference, Tristan's UK Representative, Chris Bates, urged the Minister and officials to start planning much, much earlier; so that remoter territories' communities could play a more involved role and prepare in detail.
Taking Tristan at its word, the Minister has already been in touch with Chief Islander Ian Lavarello and on Tuesday 16 th April, Chris began the planning preparations in the FCO.
Working to the Island Council's brief, he put the case for fewer topics to be discussed, but in greater detail. Specifically, these included a commitment to growth and jobs, pointing out that the difficulties of landing cruise passengers and finding berths for independent travellers mitigate against Tristan's ambitions to develop tourism; that there are real obstacles within international agreements to Tristan trading with third countries, saying the conference needs to address these complexities of international trade (not just with the EU). One suggestion Ian asked Chris to advance was that of professional advice and assistance from the UK in encouraging and developing new income streams and businesses for the island.
(The communiqué issued after the 2012 conference agreed "to support the development of entrepreneurship and growth of small businesses in the Overseas Territories". Such a development might have considerable consequences for the wider community on Tristan and the structure of the island's economy but it seems, there can be -funds made available from the UK Government for this to be explored by a seconded specialist working with communities).
The preparations will also flag up concerns on Tristan about poaching by illegal long liners, noting that the island now has EU funding for a fishing project designed to curb IUU fishing (Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated). There's also EU funding in place for a pilot project on renewable energy something Chris has pointed out on which other territories such as the Falklands and Montserrat appear to be notably ahead of Tristan.
The meeting in November will look at developing support from the EU and Commonwealth and while Tristan has benefited from substantial EDF funding from the EU (a significant factor in Tristan's development of its infrastructure) the island has little if any opportunity to engage with the Commonwealth. The Council's note for the meeting raised the question of how exchanges with countries such as Canada and Australia (which could lead to real benefits for Tristan) could be instigated and financed and to explore the possibility of links with smaller territories such as Norfolk Island or the Bahamas.
The November meeting will discuss creating better Government in territories (something already occurring in Tristan's case with the Isle of Man training scheme financed by the UK Government) and ways of improving sporting facilities, more effective disaster planning, improving health and education.
Chris observed after the meeting: "Tristan's contribution was wholly positive: with serious discussions now under way for replacing the Camogli Hospital, major refurbishment of St. Mary's School under way through funding from EDF-9 funds and minds focussed on how the shortcomings of the harbour will be dealt with on a long term basis not just an expensive patch-up. I felt we were able to demonstrate that the Minister's faith in our ability to make good use of what the British Government and the EU are investing in Tristan is well placed. There will be a lot more detailed meetings before this year's conference and I know Tristan's positive approach at these conferences works greatly to its advantage".
Other news with photos:
Thatched House Museum update:
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- The continuing saga of MV Edinburgh
Update Monday 10th June
Dorrien Venn reports that MV Edinburgh left Cape Town at 14.30 local time today with fair weather expected over the next few days.
So the voyage, which first left Cape Town on 23rd May, resumes with a repaired ship and a group of passengers who we trust enjoyed a good Cape weekend. We wish them and their ship well for a good passage to Tristan where we do hope they will arrive safely and relatively quickly. The ship will be scheduled to take seven days and will need good local conditions for a prompt landing. Nevertheless, if any voyage deserves good weather with a following wind, the possibility of a six day transit and an immediate landing of passengers, it is this particular sailing. Bon voyage.
Update Thursday 13th June from Dorrien Venn
Captain Clarence reported from aboard the ship at 07.10 today that everything aboard the ship was running OK. The ship was currently doing 7-8 knots and has 895 nautical miles to go of the 1515 nm total journey.
The ship's actual position was reported as Latitude 35'10.11 S; Longitude 05'58.33 E.
Tristan website Editor's Note: Miles and Nautical Miles are often confused. Nearly always ships report in Nautical Miles as their speed in knots directly relates - ie a ship travelling at 5 knots covers 5 Nautical Miles in an hour. Other distances on this website use always statute miles or kilometres. We won't speculate on ETA at Tristan for the Edinburgh but hope for the best.
Update Saturday 15th June from Dorrien Venn
Captain Clarence reported from aboard the ship at 07.22 today 'that all was good this side'.
The ship was currently doing 10-10.5 knots and has 474 nautical miles to go of the 1515 nm total journey.
The ship's actual position was reported as Latitude 36'04.18 S; Longitude 02'37.23 W
At this speed the Edinburgh is likely to arrive at Tristan on Monday 17th June .
Update Monday 17th June from Andy Repetto:
Tristan Head of Communications Andy Repetto has been in contact with Captain Clarence October aboard MV Edinburgh this afternoon and the vessel is expected to arrive at Tristan 16.00 GMT. Unfortunately sea conditions in Calshot Harbour will prevent landing passengers today and so the ship will seek the lee probably at the ENE of the island north of Sandy Point in the area of Blacksand / Halfway Beach.
Conditions look more promising for Tuesday 18th June and it is hoped the ship's journey from Cape Town to Tristan, which initially began on 23rd May, will then be complete so passengers can make it to the island at last.
Story to continue.
And two articles with photos:
Electricity Project news:
Non-visit of yacht Pelagic Australis with reefed mainsail: